As promised on Monday, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast is now available to to play by all Half-Life 2 owners, according to Steam News.

"Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, a single-player level custom-created to showcase High-Dynamic Range lighting (HDR) in the Source engine, is available now to all owners of HL2. As a technology showcase, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast's system requirements are very high. During installation, Steam will prompt you if your system does not meet the recommended configuration. We hope you enjoy it."

If you have been hiding under a rock for the past few months, we have a series of articles you can read to bring you up to speed on High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering, Valve's implementation of it into Source and Lost Coast specifically: Of course, all our regular readers are now experts on this topic, so get playing and let us know what you think in the forums. Does the HDR make your system crawl? Was it a lot of fuss over nothing, or do you think it adds an extra level of realism to the gameplay?

If you finish it quickly, play it through again with the Developer's Commentary enabled to learn a little about the design process and some of the decision Valve made in the extended gestation of Lost Coast. Valve have said that if this new innovation proves popular with the you guys, they will add it to future games. Make sure you submit your feedback, both positive and negative - it all helps.

Once you have listened to that, the special bit-tech challenge is to replicate the above screenshot with as much health remaining as you can, without cheating. I managed 94% during testing but I'm pretty sure it can be done without losing a single health point. No prizes for being first, other than bragging rights.
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